Florence at any time of the year is a treat, but in winter during Pitti Filati it really is special. People watching is inspiring because the city is overrun with designers, but not just any designers they are the knitwear creators of most of our most coveted brands. Pitti filati is the ‘go to’ yarn show for all respectable design houses in Europe and much further afield. It is a particular favourite of the Americans. It is the only place to see all the notable spinners mainly European, and predominantly Italian yarn mills, showcasing the finest qualities under one roof. It is two floors of glorious stands of theatrical displays of knitwear, swatches and yarns.Read More
I’m surrounded with my new fibre discoveries for the season, a bit of eco wool alpaca, an uber chunky Alpaca blend roving and a fabulous alpaca chainette, and then something occurs to me? It’s all about the alpaca... I know I’m drawn to it because I have an unhealthy relationship with luxury yarns, having spent a large proportion of my career surrounded by cashmere. But this season it just seems like everyone is pushing it. And I couldn’t be happier, it creates just the right balance of bulk without the extra weight and adds a soft halo to everything that’s produced in it, much like cashmere but a fraction of the cost.
It’s especially cost effective as it works up very light and I’ve found that I can usually work my designs in a needle or two sizes bigger to give me even more air and loft. I put in my yarn order today and have already started to mutilate the yarn cards that have tiny shreds of my favoured fibres. Armed with a new sketchbook and with my mood boards taking shape I’ll be counting the days until my yarns arrive.
There are so many beautiful yarns out there at the moment, my stash is a little obscene (don’t tell my husband, but thank goodness for Ikea storage!)
I’ve just picked up a fabulous yarn called Alpaca chunky from Rowan which is an Alpaca blend and is for chunky 10mm needles – right up my street. It’s a chainette yarn which I can’t wait to swatch up and staple it in my sketch book. I used to drool over yarn like this at Pitti Filati (yarn trade show in Florence) when I was designing for the American market. They were usually too expensive for retailers though.
With my own collection and without the worry of how I’m going to manufacture it, I can work with what I love which is nice. Naturally though some of my finds are too difficult for all knitters to find and I’m now working hard to try to find alternatives. I blogged a little while ago about a design called ‘Kelly’ which started life in chunky Italian cashmere (swoon!) I’ve been struggling to find a worthy match and started the search with Rowans Pure life wool but the end result just wasn’t what I was looking for, however I think ’alpaca chunky’ will do the trick, so on with the development. I think it would be great to hear from other knitters what their favourite yarns are at the moment and I can take some of the guess work out of my research.
Here are some of the swatches I worked up in Alpaca Chunky for the ‘Kelly’ design.
I have an obsessive, compulsive habit and I feel the need to off load it. Don’t worry it’s all clean and legal, read on......
I can’t stop hoarding yarn. I have baskets within boxes within great big cupboards and it’s spilled out of my home studio and into my husband’s office. I’ve bags under beds, in the loft and even in the car! Shocking right? It feels good to confess. I recently started to give it away. It wasn’t easy and I still miss it, although the recipient was thrilled!
But enough is enough, my son needs the storage for his obsessive compulsive habit of hoarding transformer toys (mmm sounds familiar?) And so I’ve decided to use it for small scale runs of limited edition accessories and sell them to probably buy more yarn.